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If there is one complaint I hear from women more than any other, it is their frustration about not losing weight despite the hours and hours of training involved with endurance sports (or worse, that they’ve put weight on!).
It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it?
So I wanted to call in an expert for Sparta Chicks Radio this week to explain why this happens — and, most importantly, what you can do to change it.
Katee Pedicini runs Holistic Endurance in Melbourne, Australia.
She’s a triathlon coach with a degree in Exercise Science who specialises in managing fatigue, stress and hormones in endurance athletes.
As Katee herself says in this episode, “with happy hormones you will achieve a happy weight”.
But this isn’t only a conversation about weight.
It’s a conversation about your health and the widespread impact stress has on your body.
From your risk of injury and illness, the results you get (or don’t get) from your training, how quickly you recover from hard training sessions, how tired you feel, whether you hit the wall at 3pm and have to reach for coffee/chocolate/sugar, you feel like you're constantly on a short fuse to whether you need a glass of wine at the end of a busy day to wind down.
These are all factors that are influenced by the amount of stress in your life and the hormonal response your body has to that stress.
Stress is one of the most important yet least understood factors in performance and health.
Exercise is a stress on your body - but so is a heavy workload, a difficult boss, teenagers, financial pressure, a lack of sleep, too much coffee, training at a high intensity or for long periods of time and even your perception of how much stress you’re feeling.
A great example Katee gives in this episode is someone sitting by a pool with a cocktail in the sunshine in a very relaxed atmosphere but whose mind is going at a million miles an hour.
That person, and their body, is going to be in a physiologically stressed state despite the relaxed setting.
Now to be clear — we’re all human and no-one’s life is immune to stress.
However a few small lifestyle changes (including something you should already be doing — a proper cool down!) can mitigate or lower the stress response in your body so you can sleep well at night, get the performance improvements you want and be the happiest version of you.
In this conversation, we discuss:
* The 4 categories of stress (one of which might surprise you) and what hormonal and physiological changes in your body happen when you are in a stressed state,
* the impact stress has on your immune system,
* why endurance athletes struggle to lose weight (or worse, put weight on) despite heavy training loads and eating well,
* the simple lifestyle changes you can quickly and easily introduce into your life to mitigate or reduce the impact of stress on your body,
* why “belly breathing” is so important, and
* the importance of a proper cool down (and I admit I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to sitting straight on the couch or drinking coffee after a training session!).
I hope you’ll learn as much from this conversation as I did and incorporate at least one of Katee’s suggestions into your life.
Notes and resources: